Barnstable County Gives Update on $11 Million in Housing Funds

HYANNIS – A Barnstable County official provided new insight on possible uses for $11.4 million of federal COVID relief funds for addressing the region’s housing crisis. 

County Administrator Elizabeth Albert gave an update on eligible projects for the funds and potential plans for the process of awarding them at the February 8 meeting of the Board of Regional Commissioners. 

Last year, the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) advisory committee recommended that $1.5 million of the funds should go towards workforce housing, with $3 million for sheltering and medical respite, and $6.9 million for affordable housing.  

Albert said the affordable housing money would go towards gap funding for developments that are already underway. 

She added she was aware of six or seven multi-family affordable projects that were in the pipeline. 

Housing Assistance Corporation CEO Alisa Magnotta said that with rising costs, these kinds of projects can be at risk of not getting completed without gap funds.

Albert said Barnstable County has guidance from state (Department of Community and Housing Development) and federal (Department of Housing and Urban Development) agencies on how ARPA funds must be used for affordable housing development.

Albert said the county will use that guidance when it puts out requests for proposals (RFPs) for the funds. 

Albert said that different kinds of projects would be eligible for the workforce housing money, including a potential homeshare program and innovative private-public partnerships. 

The Assembly of Delegates Standing Committee on Economic Affairs said it may decide to hold off on releasing the $1.5 million for workforce housing until the Cape Cod Commission finishes a housing study.

That report will feature a decision tool designed to better understand zoning impacts.

The update on dispersing the federal dollars comes after a report highlighting the effects of the housing crisis said the Cape has annually lost over 800 households that make $100,000 or less a year.

The same report said roughly half of the region’s workforce commutes from a different county. 

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter 


About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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